The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have spoken out today, essentially saying for many in the West economics is not working. You could also argue that economics is not working for many people in developing countries as well. While incomes for some in India and China have soared many people have been left behind in grinding poverty. TEARFUND made a strong defence of continuing to work in India recently. However the COfE hierarchy are focusing on the UK.
They are talking about many of the things that concern me. A widening gap between rich and poor which has been found to be actually bad for economic growth. The all encompassing obsession with conventional economics which has us locked into a growth model that is unsustainable. They suggest a living wage which I fully agree- its difficult to see how anyone can not support workers not being paid enough to live on. This would also be a way of cutting the social security bill since almost no one would need tax credits, which are merely the state subsidising bad employers.
Its not just me but economics students who are dissatisfied and think current economics is not working as we have covered before. I listened to a programme on the radio covering this the other week. The issue has spread around the world with economics students wanting to question the economic theory that led to crash. Even in “communist” China the only theory being taught is neo-liberal economics.
We also need to ask how we are going to have a functioning economy in a post oil world. At the moment with rapidly falling oil prices no one is taking any interest in this issue. But it was only recently that everyone was complaining about high food, energy and transport prices. It should be pointed out that apart from petrol and diesel these other costs are showing only modest falls, meaning our book is as relevant as ever.
Economics is something we attempted to address in our book. I’m still thinking about this and at the moment I’m reading two Christian books on economics. I will be reviewing one of these on this blog in the future. In the meanwhile in my view economics is not working which is one reason, perhaps the primary reason for the rise of alternative nationalist parties all over Europe. Give the lowest paid a living wage and a lot of these problems would dissipate.
Image from the brilliant openclipart site (click on it for artist etc.).